Exchange students learn history, law while on vacation here

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho warmly welcomes the students to his courtroom. (Contributed Photo)

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho warmly welcomes the students to his courtroom. (Contributed Photo)

For 12 Chinese students visiting Saipan, summer was a chance to practice their English and better understand the American culture and the legal and political systems.

For 10 days this August, local tour group Discover Saipan Tour Co. hosted this group of students, whose ages ranged from 12 to 25.

A foreign exchange program in China called Beijing Shun Shun Step Abroad reached out to Discover Saipan Tour to organize the trips for these young scholars. Some of these students are currently attending classes in China, while others are studying in both the U.S. and Australia.

Although they were not here for a long time, Monique Kramer of Discover Saipan ensured that their trip would be both beneficial and enjoyable. She contacted many offices and individuals to speak to these students and expose them not only to local traditions and culture but also to give them a greater understanding of American law.

This was the fourth year that Discover Saipan has hosted this camp.

This year, Kramer first took them to visit the American Memorial Park and learn about the island’s history and involvement in World War II. She brought along a local student to bring them on a tour of the park and the reasons for European, Japanese and American interests in the Marianas.

For the second year in a row, the camp took a field trip to the court of Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho. He told them about his job and allowed them to visit his courtroom. He then answered questions that the students had for him, to give them a greater understanding of what it means to be a judge in America.

The following day, lawyer Samuel Mok met with them at his office to speak about colleges and universities in America and Canada. He also explained what he does as a civil lawyer and gave them the chance to ask him.

They were also able to speak with and hear from an FBI agent later in the week.

The Office of the Saipan Mayor also hosted them for the day to discuss the Mayor David M. Apatang’s career and hopes for Saipan’s future. They were the first group of Chinese students to visit his office, and he discussed his wishes to increase the number of Chinese foreign exchange programs on Saipan.

The group also visited the Man’Amko Center and preformed the CNMI’s national anthem. They spoke with residents of the center, and learned some Chamorro words; they also taught the residents some Mandarin. They also planted a variety of vegetables in the center’s garden, and Discover Saipan Tour donated a check to the man’amko.

In addition to these educational activities, the group was also able to experience an ATV ride and visit a few beaches. They also spent a day at a coconut farm, making mwar mwars and watching dances and cockfights.

Shea K. Hartig

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